Kissimmee Family Dentistry

Natural Teeth Whitening

'woman cleaning mouth'How many different ways have you tried to get white, sparkly teeth? The Internet has all kinds of options, from teeth whitening strips to natural remedies like baking soda and lemon juice, or gargling apple cider vinegar. But have you heard of whitening your teeth with oil? Learn about the oil pulling method and why people are raving about this natural remedy for stained teeth!

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is the ancient Ayurvedic ritual where oils are used to detoxify the body, kill bacteria in the mouth, and whiten teeth naturally. Coconut, sesame, and olive oil are just a few popular oils used for whitening.

How to oil pull:

  1. Take a teaspoon of your preferred oil.
  2. Gently swish the oil around in your mouth for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, swishing and pulling the oil through your teeth.
  3. Spit the oil out in a tissue and throw in the garbage (don’t spit down the sink, it will clog the drain!)
  4. Brush and floss your teeth regularly.

Oils and oral health

Oil pulling isn’t just a teeth whitening technique – it does amazing things for your overall oral health. Coconut oil and other edible oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that work to prevent cavities and bad breath. By removing bacteria, the oil prevents plaque buildup, which in turn strengthens gums and helps prevent gingivitis and more serious forms of gum disease (periodontitis).

Tips

  1. Don’t swallow the oil! You don’t want that bacteria from your mouth to stay in your body.
  2. Oil pulling is most effective in the morning before you eat or brush your teeth. This is because your mouth has the most bacteria when you first wake up. Plus, it can be easy to forget before bed with a busy schedule.
  3. The longer you oil pull, the more bacteria will be drawn from the mouth.
  4. Do something productive while you oil pull! It’s easy to multitask while whitening naturally: clean your room, play an instrument or kick back with a good book and let the oil work its magic!
  5. Natural teeth whitening doesn’t happen overnight: the best results occur approximately four months into your oil-pulling regimen. Keep at it!

5 Facts About Gums

'gums being checked by dentist'It’s trivia time! We’ve got some lesser-known facts about gums and oral care for you. Test your knowledge of gum health with these five facts!

Fact #1

Gum disease is caused by excessive plaque formation. We all develop plaque buildup, even with good brushing and flossing habits. This is why regular dental checkups are so important! Dental cleanings every six months clear away plaque that unavoidably starts to build up under the gum line and harden to form tartar, or calculus.

Fact #2

Gums should not bleed when you brush or floss. Many people think this is normal, but it is actually a sign of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Although you may not want to floss if your gums are bleeding, flossing is actually the best way to treat the cause of infection and stop the progression of gum disease.

Fact #3

Excessive brushing can cause your gums to recede. For the most effective tooth brushing that won’t damage gum tissue or enamel, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move the bristles in gentle circular motions. Avoid brushing teeth with abrasive substances.

Fact #4

Gum disease affects more than just your gums. Infected gum tissue can cause more serious problems such as tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. As bacterial growth destroys gum tissue, the gums begin to recede. This causes teeth to lose their anchor in the gum and fall out. If missing teeth are not replaced, the jawbone atrophies from underuse because it doesn’t have teeth to support.

Fact #5

Bad breath isn’t just caused by the food you eat – it can also be an indicator of your gum health. Food residue between teeth leads to bacterial growth, which in turn can cause bad breath. In the early stages of gum disease, bacteria begin to grow between the teeth and the gums, forming infected pockets that contribute to your breath.

Keep these facts in mind when you perform your daily dental care routine – they’re game changers! Give us a call to learn more about gum health and overall oral care.

Dental Implants: High Tech Teeth

Dental Implants-High Tech TeethWhat are dental implants? Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a foundation for both fixed and removable replacement teeth. Like roots, dental implants are secured within the jawbone and not visible once surgically placed. Teeth replacement is not new to dental technology. Early civilizations practiced teeth replacements; archaeologists have discovered skulls where teeth have been replaced by cast iron and sea shells. Despite their primitive methods, some of these implants were fused with bone like modern dental implants! However, unlike the ancient cast iron or sea shell implants, modern implants are composed of titanium. Titanium is lightweight, strong, and biocompatible.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device — 98%. Dental implants are available in several designs that meet individual needs: single tooth replacement, multiple tooth replacement, implant supported prosthesis (removable), and an implant stabilized denture. Aside from meeting individual needs, there are a few other advantages to having dental implants:

  1. Improved appearance. Dental implants are designed to fuse with bone, and look and feel like your natural teeth.
  2. Improved comfort. Because dental implants become an extension of your natural mouth, implants remove the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
  3. Easier eating. Dental implants act as your natural teeth, allowing you to eat without the pain and discomfort that often accompany slipping of dentures.
  4. Improved self-esteem. Dental implants give your best natural smiling, helping build self-confidence!
  5. Improved oral health. Dental implants are the only proven way to prevent bone loss after the loss of natural teeth. The jawbone needs consistent chewing action to stimulate continual bone growth. Tooth/teeth replacement with dental implants offers a solution to prevent bone loss.
  6. With proper care, consistent brushing, flossing and routine dental visits, dental implants can last 40-years to life.

If you are interested in dental implants, or have any questions regarding the procedure, call the office today!

On the Lookout for Oral Cancer

On the Lookout for Oral CancerOral cancer screenings are performed regularly at dental exams, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention to your dental hygiene between appointments. Taking matters into your own hands is the best way to maintain your oral health. Not sure how to screen for oral cancer? We’ll show you!

What is oral pathology?
This branch of dentistry involves the evaluation and treatment of diseases of the mouth. The most dangerous, but not always the most obvious, of these diseases is oral cancer.
What should I look for?
Keep an eye out for these oral cancer symptoms during your self-screenings:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Lumps on the tongue or lining of the mouth
  • Mouth sores that won’t heal
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Chronic throat soreness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Mouth numbness

How do I perform an oral cancer self-exam?

  1. When performing your oral cancer self-screening, be sure to check all areas of the mouth, including the roof, floor, tongue, lips, cheeks and the back of your throat.
  2. Examine your face in the mirror for abnormal asymmetry and irregularities.
  3. Feel your neck and the back of your head with your fingers to look for any bumps or changes in texture.
  4. Examine your throat by placing your fingers around your thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) and swallowing.

How often should I perform a self-exam?
Self-exams should be performed at least once a month. Changes to your oral health can occur rapidly, so it’s important to stay on top of things. Treatment is most effective if we detect symptoms early.
Ask us about performing an oral cancer screening when you visit – we’re here to ease your mind and give you the tools you need to maintain your health!

Get Checked, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Get CheckedBeing that we are entering April, now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 48,330 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and an estimated 9,570 people will die from oral cancer in 2016. In the spirit of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness, we urge you to receive regular oral cancer examinations. Remember—early detection saves lives!

Are you at risk?
The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.

Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
• Smoking and using tobacco products have been a known long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
• Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
• The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
• The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
• Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas.
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
• A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth.
• Dramatic weight loss.
• Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.

Don’t wait any longer. In the spirit of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!

Order of Your Oral Hygiene Routine

You’re awake, congratulations! Now, you are standing in front of the bathroom mirror, you’ve been wanting to upgrade your oral hygiene routine but you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information. There are so many tools and what order should you do them in? We’re here to help! If you’ve ever wondered, “What comes first brushing or flossing?” Read on!

  • Oral Hygiene Routine BlogYou’ve probably heard us stress the importance of flossing at your appointments. Flossing is an incredibly important part of your mouth’s health. Flossing your teeth should take place one time per day. We recommend at night so that food does not rest in between your teeth while you sleep. Flossing before brushing is a lot like dusting before you vacuum. The particles will loosen with flossing and the brushing will sweep them away.
  • You may have guessed it: the second part of your oral hygiene regimen should be a 2-minute brushing. Dentists look at your mouth in terms of quadrants. Therefore, your mouth consists on four separate quadrants and to ensure proper use of your two minute brushing session, we recommend spending 30 seconds in each quadrant. This brushing routine should take place two times a day!
  • Brushing your teeth alone will not eliminate the majority of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cleaning your tongue is an easy addition to your routine and will benefit your mouth greatly. Take your toothbrush, apply a very small amount of toothpaste and brush your tongue in gentle, circular motions. You may opt for a tongue scraper instead, they can be purchased at most grocery stores.
  • The finishing touch for optimum oral health is mouthwash. Sip a small amount and swish for 30-40 seconds. Spit it out and you are done!

It may seem like a lengthy routine but it actually only totals about 4 minutes. If you value your oral health and want to spend less time in a dental chair, it will be worth your time, we promise!

Dental Implants: FAQ

Dental implants are becoming more and more popular these days, and we can see why. The ability to replace a missing tooth with a brand new one is an attractive concept.

Dental Implant FAQWe know that people often have questions about implants, so we have put together this page to answer those common questions:

What is a dental implant?
Implants are artificial teeth that function exactly like your natural teeth. We take a titanium screw, attach it to your jaw, allow the jaw to grow around the screw, and then fit the new tooth in right where the old one used to be. It will feel exactly like your old tooth used to when you had it.

How quick is the procedure?
It depends on just how strong and healthy your jaw is. Your jaw may very well be ready to receive the new tooth quickly, but it may also take time to grow around the screw. If your jaw is weak, we can also transplant bone from other parts of your body first, via another procedure called “bone grafting”, to grow a fresh, strong base where the screw can be inserted. If that is the case, the whole process takes more time, but again, it depends on your case.

Does it hurt?
No. Medications and anesthesia are available to reduce or eliminate pain. You shouldn’t feel a thing.

Since it’s an artificial tooth, do I need to care for it as if it were alive?
You should clean and maintain your implant exactly like you do with your living teeth. Though the implant isn’t going to die, it can still allow bacteria to build up, like your other teeth do. Clean all of your teeth with care, and they should all stay healthy.

How long do they last?
If your implant is taken good care of, it should last a long, long time. Perhaps 40 years and sometimes even a lifetime!

What should I eat after the procedure?
Eat soft food. We will help you decide on a diet that works for you depending on the specifics of your case and treatment.

Have more questions? Call us! We would be glad to set up an evaluation.

What Type of Floss Should I Use?

We know we don’t have to tell you this—but flossing at least once a day is key to healthy gums and teeth! And while studies have shown it doesn’t really matter what kind of floss you use (as long as you do it!), people are more likely to use floss that’s easy for them to use. We’ve broken down the different types of floss, so you can decide which is best for you!

Waxed and Unwaxed

What Type of Floss Should I UseWaxed floss will glide easier, but there isn’t really any other difference between waxed and unwaxed floss. If your teeth are close together, try one of these.

Ultra Floss

Ultra floss is a thicker floss that can be stretched to fit between tight spaces between your teeth; this is a good option if the closeness of your teeth varies.

Tape

Dental tape is a relatively new addition to the floss family. This fatter floss option is made from plastic and has a bit more stretch. If you have wide spaces between your teeth or have sensitive gums, try this ribbon-like floss.

Flossing picks

If you find yourself on the go—or if you hate the feeling of floss wrapped around your fingers—try disposable picks that have handles to make flossing a little easier!

Oral Irrigators

Recent trials are inconclusive on whether using a water flosser is as effective as traditional floss, but studies agree that using an oral irrigator is better than not flossing at all!

So which one is the best? Any one you’ll actually use! Don’t hesitate to ask us for different types of floss at your next cleaning to see what works best for you!

Porcelain Veneers for a Flawless Smile

You may already love your smile – that’s great! But what if you’re not happy with some of the minor details? To perfect an already great smile, we may recommend veneers. Porcelain veneers are a great tool for correcting minor imperfections on the surface of teeth and spacing issues as well!

Here are some common questions we are asked regarding veneers:

Porcelain Veneers for a Flawless SmileWill they feel weird on my teeth?
You won’t feel a thing. Veneers are thinner than your fingernails, so you won’t even notice them in your mouth. They are far less intrusive (and embarrassing) than braces.

How long do they last?
Longer than your car. A good, properly placed veneer can last from 10-20 years. And, just like a car, the better you take care of your veneers, the longer they’ll last. A great investment for an enhanced smile!

Will they ever fall off?
They’re not going anywhere. Veneers are attached to your tooth with a very strong bonding compound. It’s like superglue designed for teeth. They do not fall off and provide years of durable use.

Do veneers look like natural teeth?
You can count on it. Porcelain is the perfect material to copy tooth enamel, as it incorporates luster, shine and translucence to look just like your natural teeth. People will be remarking on your great smile for years to come.

What if the surrounding teeth are a different color?
We’ve got you covered. Generally we recommend a whiter shade of porcelain for the veneer and perform tooth whitening in conjunction with the veneer to give you a perfect match throughout your mouth.

Do veneers stain?
They’ll always be white. Porcelain veneers do not stain, even over time. That’s one of the reasons that we use this material!

If you want to take your smile to the next level, ask us if veneers are a good option for you!

Mouthwash the Multitasker

If you thought that the only benefit of mouthwash was minty smelling breath, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that there are far more benefits that come along with the use of mouthwash. When mouthwash is used as part of your oral hygiene routine you are able to reap the benefits all day long!

Periodontal Disease

It might be obvious but, mouthwash reduces your risk of periodontal disease by cutting down on the quality and quantity of dental plaque.

CavitiesMouthwash the Multitasker

Mouthwash can also lessen your risk of developing cavities if it has fluoride as an active ingredient. When fluoride is present in your mouthwash, be sure to use it as the final step in your oral care routine. Fluoride needs time to absorb without getting washed away by a drink or water with brushing. Let approximately 30 minutes pass before enjoying food or beverage.

Pregnancy

Perhaps the most surprising benefit of mouthwash is that it can aid in preventing pregnant women from going into early labor! Pregnant women who have periodontal disease run the risk of going into early labor because bacteria at the gum line is able to get into her bloodstream. This increases the body’s inflammatory markers which in turn can stimulate contractions.

Providing Comfort

Mouthwash can soothe canker sores by detoxing the area. The reduced amount of bacteria at the site results in a soothed feeling.

If you haven’t already adopted mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine, we suggest you do! Not only will your mouth feel and smell fresher, the added benefits are worth the small amount of effort. Ask us what kind we recommend for you at your next visit.